Senate rejects government-wide ban on abortion funding

Senate rejects government-wide ban on abortion funding
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The Senate rejected a bill on Thursday that would have permanently banned the use of federal funding for abortions.

The bill would have enshrined in law a long-standing provision that is tacked on to appropriations bills every year, forbidding the use of federal funds for abortions in programs like Medicaid.

It also would have banned ObamaCare subsidies for insurance plans that cover abortion. 

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats brush off GOP 'trolling' over Green New Deal Trump should beware the 'clawback' Congress Juan Williams: America needs radical solutions MORE (R-Ky.) teed up the largely symbolic vote for Thursday, one day ahead of the March for Life, the annual march against abortion that takes place in Washington.

The bill wasn't expected to pass, but Republicans typically schedule symbolic votes on abortion close to the dates for the March for Life and the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. 

A vote to open debate on the bill failed 48-47, with 60 votes needed to begin debate. 

Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Congress must step up to protect Medicare home health care MORE (R-Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOn unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week MORE (R-Alaska) broke with their party to vote against the measure while Democratic Sens. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyGOP wants to pit Ocasio-Cortez against Democrats in the Senate Biden speaking to Dems on Capitol Hill as 2020 speculation mounts: report GOP senators: Trump should not declare border emergency during State of the Union MORE (Pa.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDemocrats brush off GOP 'trolling' over Green New Deal Senate confirms Trump pick William Barr as new attorney general GOP wants to pit Ocasio-Cortez against Democrats in the Senate MORE (W.V.) voted with Republicans.

Democrats criticized McConnell for holding a vote on the bill instead of voting on House-passed measures to end the government shutdown. 

"We know that a bill opening the government would pass the Senate, yet we're voting on a bill attacking women's health," tweeted Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Dems blast rulemaking on family planning program | Facebook may remove anti-vaccine content | Medicare proposes coverage for new cancer treatment Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Senators seek answers on surprise medical bills | Red states move to limit Medicaid expansion | Two drug companies agree to testify Senate Dems block Sasse measure meant to respond to Virginia bill MORE (D-Wash.).

The vote illustrated how divided the new Congress is on the issue of abortion. 

Leaders of the House Pro-Choice Caucus vowed this week to end the Hyde Amendment for good.